A woman from my past (and, I suppose, my present) sent me a picture of a banana, at the tail end of a light texting back and forth. “I wasn’t planning to write more,” she wrote, “but then I pulled this out of my bag and it made me smile thinking of you so – hi again.”
“Tease,” I responded.
That sent us down a bit of a vortex.
First, L wrote, “Not my intention, sorry. Was just being cheerful.” She added, “Now I wish I had left well enough alone :-(.”
“Oh please,” I wrote. “I was kidding. I appreciate your cheer.”
L replied, “I still feel sad and regretful though, lump in my throat. Sorry I couldn’t hear your ‘kidding’ over text.”
“I hate being called a tease,” she wrote. “I thought you knew that? To me the word has negative connotations and the way you use it, it always seems to reflect some kind of ill feeling.”
Um, ouch. In this instance, it didn’t reflect any kind of (conscious) ill feeling. What I meant, if I were to flesh out all the words, was something along the lines of, “I like that you’re thinking of my cock, and remembering having it in your mouth, in your pussy. And, I appreciate your reminding me of all the times my cock was in those parts of you. And, I wish it could be there right now, but, because of a million different reasons, it can’t be. Which reasons I respect, and accept. But, playfully, fuck you for reminding me of what I can’t have. And thank you for reminding me of what I have enjoyed of you previously.”
I intended to be playful, warm, intimate. To be sharing a nostalgic reminiscence, not to be complaining, or rebuking.
But texting sucks. And, it doesn’t just suck. It sucks in a very specific, very difficult way. My experience is that, when two people want nothing more than to imagine they’re communicating perfectly, texting tends to facilitate that to a fault – such that they can walk away from a text exchange each believing they have communicated perfectly, in spite of each having taken away something completely different from the conversation.
And, when one or another party to a text exchange enters the exchange with a particular prejudice, preconception, experience, or expectation, then, chances are, they’ll get that validated in whatever the other types with their thumbs.
I don’t know what L (not the “L” who is Lizzie, but an L who used to have another name on this blog, but who doesn’t any more because reasons) entered our exchange anticipating of me, but I gave her something she didn’t want, something that felt hostile, complaining, and even misogynist. She sent me a link to this (excellent, thoughtful) meditation on the use of the word “tease.” None of which in any way describes my intended use of it, or my meaning.
I mean, I agree with the point of the article: a woman who changes her mind about sex isn’t a tease; she’s a woman who changed her mind about sex. And a man who complains about a woman’s changing her mind is a dick. I don’t interpret flirtation as promise; I don’t interpret promise as promise. I value consent. I value its being enthusiastic. And, continuous.
“Tease” for me is in the category of “bitch,” “cunt,” “pussy,” and “good girl” – it’s a word I only use in a context in which there’s a certain degree of consent that I presume, a consent to playful objectification and sexualization. Now. Maybe I misread the situation with this particular L. (I mean, clearly I did, at least as regards the word.) But I don’t think I did as regards the generally sexualized, objectifying context. I think L has a conflicted relationship to my objectification of her: she likes it, but she hungers for it to be a bit more… contextualized. To come in a more three-dimensional, less transactional context. And yet, our relationship, for reasons I imagine neither of us truly understands, has sorta had a tropism in the less three-dimensional, more transactional direction. With periodic fruitful, rewarding, departures into more three-dimensional terrain.
Anyway: I didn’t mean to be suggesting an entitlement on my part to anything, or a criticism of her for anything. I inelegantly used a word her associations to which were entirely other than I would have preferred.
When she sent the photo of the banana, what I imagined she was saying was, “I saw this banana and it made me remember your cock fondly.” She told me “I feel like my first response was actually pretty close to [that].”
When I said “Tease,” I imagined she would hear, “Damn, woman, I wish I could feed you my cock right now.” Which is what I meant. Live and learn. Next time, I’ll try that.
Postscript: apparently I’m still off the mark with what I’ve written.